Upstream Metropolis


Upstream Metropolis

An Urban Biography of Omaha and Council Bluffs

Lawrence H. Larsen, Barbara J. Cottrell, Harl A. Dalstrom, and Kay Calame Dalstrom

496 pages
19 photographs, map, index


June 2007


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

June 2007


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

From its birth as interdependent towns on the Missouri River frontier to its emergence as a metropolis straddling two states, Omaha–Council Bluffs has been one of the great urban construction projects in the nation’s history. Upstream Metropolis provides the first comprehensive history of this unique urban region that ranks 60th among the 370 major metropolitan areas in the United States. Drawing on local newspapers and historical archives, the authors deliver an anecdote-rich account of how and why a large metropolitan area developed in this spot. They also explain why it grew so big—and no bigger—but could never have remained two small towns.
Upstream Metropolis is an urban biography of the highest order, tracing the lives of two cities, which though divided by a river, the problems of a state line, and inevitable rivalry, have always been inextricably linked. This discussion moves from the freewheeling frontier days to the times of farming and railroads, examining influences such as the populist movement, the meatpacking industry, immigration, and ethnicity.  The highly readable result is a pioneering contribution to the history of urbanization in America.

Author Bio

Lawrence H. Larsen is professor emeritus of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Barbara J. Cottrell is an archivist with the National Archives-Central Plains Region. She and Larsen authored The Gate City: A History of Omaha (Nebraska 1997). Harl A. Dalstrom, professor emeritus of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, contributed to The Gate City. Kay Calamé Dalstrom, retired from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Department of Foreign Languages, has collaborated with Harl A. Dalstrom on articles about Plains history.


"An outstanding book in every way, a model of what an urban history can and should be."—Craig Miner, Western Historical Quarterly

"Given the significance of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolis, this new volume should prove a valuable resource to anyone interested in the urban Midwest."—Jon C. Teaford, The Annals of Iowa

"Scholars will find Upstream Metropolis a valuable resource."—Heather Fryer, Great Plains Quarterly

"A thoughtful, engaging and accurate portrait of the growth and development of a powerful Midwestern presence. The story deserved to be told, and the authors did it well." —James W. Hewitt, American Studies

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